BY YEMI FETCH

In Christ Apostolic Church, it’s safe to hit your head on the wall to get God’s attention. Prayer is no joke over there. You either die praying or get a solution to your problem. I can still recall those energy sapping vigils. I’m talking about the 90’s, the decade that launched the advent of Gucci pastors.

In those days, we were under a military dictator. People suffered. Many cooked their foods using sawdust. Psychologically Nigerians were shattered and desperately wanted relief. Suddenly, churches began to spring up with messages of hope. They offered the people revivals that they hoped would guarantee survival. And that brought about the emergence of prosperity ministries as we call them today.

The pioneers of these ministries painted pictures of imaginary enemies. Then they say,  If you really desire a prosperous life, you have to overcome the prince of Persia. So we learned to wage spiritual warfare. We learned to fight financial demons. We held hands together, spined our heads like carousel and screamed for breakthrough. Yes we did. That’s certainly better than going on the streets to protest against Abacha.

However, It marked the beginning of new era for pentecostal churches. Bishop Iloputaife was assassinated in 1995. This event later revealed how wealthy the bishop was. I lived few kilometers away from Victory and attended a service there when he imported Ron Kenoly to Nigeria for the very first time. Then Lekki 98′ followed to awaken the minds of the people to spiritual wealth. Many never heard of RCCG before 98′. Then Shiloh began in 99′. All this happened after Bishop Idahosa died. And now his crop of boys are taking over the ‘industry’.

You watch the drug dealers in Hollywood movies right? You know what happens when the godfather is gone? Every key player wants to take over the cartel. That was exactly what happened with pentecostal churches in Nigeria at the time. So we returned to civilian rule in 1999 but our mindsets were already ruined by the church. We depended more on pastors than government institutions. We don’t want to work things out; but we pray for things to work out.

The new millennium arrived with atmosphere for miracles and ‘Emmaaaaanuel’ became a household name. Today, Bishop Idahosa’s boys have their own errand boys. And we continue to breed a generation of lazy but prayerful young people.

It’s 2016, just three years after a pentecostal CAN president bought a private jet, Nigeria is still inarguably the most praying country in the world. And that’s good news to pastors. Yet, our economy is recessed. We are praying to come out of it someday. You certainly have no idea how much these pastors have disorganized our thoughts. One day, you’ll understand.

Look at Japan, a non Christian nation, despite the numerous natural disasters they have experienced, it never deterred them from becoming one of the world’s most developed nations. Now look back at Nigeria, a country with abundant natural resources and fervent prayer warriors, yet, we are among the world’s poorest nations because we wrestle not against flesh and blood but unseen principalities in high places. Principalities that have no business with us. Principalities already in high places. I just tire…

Brethren, prayer isn’t the only key; there’s work to be done.